The Whitehorse City Council is reviewing an application for a major mixed-use tower on the north-west corner of Station and Carrington streets, currently an open-air car park.
The building will include about 4,000 square metres of retail space, about 4,300 square metres of offices and more than 200 apartments, about half of which will be managed as serviced apartments.
As little as 18 months ago the 9,150 square metre Box Hill development site was expected to make way for a 10-level building with a 6-level underground car park, under plans by its previous owner.
However after submitting – but not receiving – a permit for a 30-level building, ownership of the site was transferred in April. The new owners, a consortium of Chinese and Australian investors including prominent local developer Francis Kwong, have lodged the 38-level building application.
Mr Kwong’s biggest other project in Melbourne is the $100 million, 36-level Barton Tower at 318 Russell Street, which will include about 284 apartments.
The 38-level Box Hill application, for the property known as 545 – 563 Station Street, was lodged by Property Consultant Services David Blanche. Representing the developer, design manager Mr Blanche said it would be inappropriate to comment while the development is being reviewed by council.
Following any approval however, and depending on market demand for apartments, sources say construction could start as early as 2010. The project could have an end value of more than $100 million. The development will not include a 1,200 seat cinema, proposed in an earlier application.
At 38-levels the Box Hill building would be the biggest outside of central Melbourne, which includes the CBD, Docklands, Southbank and St Kilda Road. However the Stonnington City Council is also reviewing a 38-level mixed use building for a site on the north-west corner of Toorak Road and Chapel Street in South Yarra.
The Box Hill building would stand behind the Centro Box Hill shopping centre, the Box Hill train station, Whitehorse Road tram and a major bus terminal servicing the eastern suburb. Box Hill is the main activity centre in the Whitehorse municipality, providing many retail, medical, education and community services.
Whitehorse City Council general manager city development Paul Kearsley said council has an ongoing program of improvements to increase the appeal of Box Hill to the public. Box Hill is one of nine metropolitan Melbourne Transit Cities in the Melbourne 2030 policy, and one of 26 Principal Activity Centres.
Colliers International manager office leasing Travis Myerscough said major new office development has not taken place in Box Hill since the suburb was developed as a major suburban office precinct in the early 1990s. The Box Hill suburban office market measures 132,315 square metres, of which about 5,200 square metres – or about 3.92 per cent – is vacant.
CB Richard Ellis selling agent Scott Panton expects the shortage of office stock in Box Hill to force prospective tenants to neighbouring Doncaster.